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Greyhawk Character
Tenser, as depicted in Dungeon #130 (2006). Art by Steve Prescott.
Homeland Magepoint
Gender Male
Race Human
Age 70+
Class Wizard 16/Archmage 5
Alignment Lawful Good

Tenser is an archmage who actively seeks to rid the Flanaess of evil. Tenser is a former member of both the Citadel of Eight and the Circle of Eight.

In Dungeon's Age of Worms adventure path, Tenser is referred to as "Manzorian."


Tenser is medium-sized, with brown hair and an aquiline nose. He is always dressed in blue. He is polite and outgoing, but is willing to enforce his will on others for the sake of Law and Good.


Tenser is a close friend of Jallarzi Sallavarian and Cymria. Agath of Thrunch often meets him at his fortress.


Tenser makes his home in the Fortress of Unknown Depths on the southern shore of the Nyr Dyv, near the village of Magepoint, only a few days ride from the Free City of Greyhawk.


Tenser in the late 570s, as depicted in Isle of the Ape (1985)

Tenser was born 525 CY, purportedly in the Wild Coast town of Fax. At some point after 551 CY, he was recruited by Mordenkainen and Bigby to join the Citadel of Eight. After the death of his good friend and fellow Citadel member Serten in 569 CY, the Citadel dissolved. Tenser joined forces with Bigby and Mordenkainen once more in 574 CY when he joined the Circle of Eight, replacing Leomund.

In 570 CY, Tenser accompanied Bigby and Neb Retnar beneath Greyhawk Castle in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Robilar, Riggby, and Quij from freeing the demigod Iuz from Zagyg's Godtrap.

In 579 CY, Robilar sacked the Temple of Elemental Evil, freeing the demoness Zuggtmoy in the process. In retribution, Tenser, Otis, Rufus, and Burne led an army of good-aligned forces in pursuit of his former companion, following him back to his castle and laying siege to it, defeating his armies and driving them from the Domain of Greyhawk to the Pomarj.

In 581 CY, Tenser accompanied Bigby, Drawmij, Jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, and Rary to the tomb of Halmadar the Cruel. Every member of the party died that day, though they were brought back to life later through the agency of clone spells.

The Circle was betrayed in 584 CY, when Tenser, Bigby, and Otiluke discovered a plan by the Circle's own Rary to slay a number of diplomats assembled in Greyhawk to sign the treaty ending the Greyhawk Wars. Unfortunately, Rary witnessed their discovery, and a great magical battle ensued, resulting in the deaths of Otiluke and Tenser, and severely wounding Bigby, who was unable to pursue Rary as he escaped. Word later came that Rary's allies, among them former Citadel member Lord Robilar, had ensured Tenser's and Otiluke's deaths by destroying every clone they had prepared for such an incident. Rary and Robilar fled to the Bright Desert, southeast of Greyhawk, where they established the Empire of the Bright Lands.

However, Rary and Robilar had failed to discover a clone Tenser had hidden away on Luna, one of Oerth's moons, and in Goodmonth of 585 CY Tenser was restored to life. Though he was welcomed back into the Circle, Tenser refused.


Tenser in 586 CY, as depicted in Return of the Eight (1998).

Two of Tenser’s eponymous spells, Tenser's Floating Disc and Tenser's Transformation, appear in the 3.5 Edition Player’s Handbook. Other spells that he developed, described in supplements, include:

  • Tenser's Brawl
  • Tenser's Deadly Strike
  • Tenser's Destructive Resonance
  • Tenser's Eye of the Eagle
  • Tenser's Eye of the Tiger
  • Tenser's Flaming Blade
  • Tenser's Floating Disc, Greater
  • Tenser's Fortunes of War
  • Tenser's Giant Strength
  • Tenser's Hunting Hawk
  • Tenser's Master of Arms
  • Tenser's Primal Fury
  • Tenser's Running Warrior
  • Tenser's Staff of Smiting
  • Tenser's Steady Aim


Tenser is known to have authored the following works:

  • Evolution of the Arcane Will Power
  • Magical Properties of Gemstones
  • Magical Properties of Herbs and Flowers
  • Occult Properties of Gemstones
  • Theory of the Invisible Forces

Creative origins

It is rumored that the name 'Tenser' is actually the rearanging of E Gary Gygax's first name "Ernest," a name also shared by one of his sons, Ernie, who played Tenser in the elder Gygax's campaign.


  • Cook, David. "History of the Greyhawk Wars." Wars. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1991. Available online:[1]
  • -----. Vecna Lives. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.
  • Grohe, Allan. "Gygax's Anagrams, Puns, and Homages in the World of Greyhawk." Available online:[2]
  • Heard, Bruce. "Spells Between the Covers." Dragon #82. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1988.